Celtic Diaspora, Folk Blues and Pan Celtic Sounds on January 18 at Celtic Connections 2008

Glasgow, Scotland – The program for January 18 at Celtic Connections 2008 includes Scottish duo The Cast, Irish-American supergroup Cherish the Ladies, Friday Night Blues with Josh White, Jr., The Burnsong Song House, Bellowhead with Lisa Knapp, Dàimh & Anxo Lorenzo with TNT, Lewis & Harris Night, Classic Albums: Lauren MacColl "When Leaves Fall" with Maeve Mackinnon "Don’t Sing Lovesongs", Punch Brothers featuring bluegrass virtuoso Chris Thile with The Bills, Celtic Connections Festival Ceilidhs and the nightly Celtic Connections Festival Club.

January 18 Program:

Danny Kyle’s Open Stage hosted by Gibb Todd
Fri 18 January, 5pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Exhibition Hall

Hosted by Danny Kyle’s good friends Gibb Todd and Liz Clark, the Open Stage is a chance to see new musical talent as they try to win a coveted support slot at next year’s festival – and all absolutely free. In partnership with the Evening Times.

The Cast with Theresa Kavanagh
Fri 18 January, 6pm
City Halls, Recital Room

Popular Scottish duo The Cast, comprising Dave Francis (guitar) and Mairi Campbell (fiddle, viola, vocals) released their long-awaited third album, Greengold, in 2007. Support comes from the outstanding young Donegal fiddler Theresa Kavanagh.

Cherish the Ladies with Lazy Boy Chair
Fri 18 January, 7:30pm
£20, £18
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Main Auditorium

A riotous welcome is assured for the Irish-American supergroup Cherish the Ladies, a firm Celtic Connections favorite ever since the very first festival back in 1994. Originally formed over 20 years ago as a one-off celebration of female talent in Irish-American music, fronted then and now by the irrepressible flute/whistle virtuoso Joanie Madden, the band continue to go from strength to strength, alternating straight-no-chaser instrumentals with haunting song arrangements. Along with Madden, the Ladies currently comprise Mary Coogan (guitar), Mirella Murray (accordion), Roisín Dillon (fiddle), Kathleen Boyle (piano, harmony vocals) and Heidi Talbot (bodhran, lead vocals).

Bringing together eight of the best and busiest players on the Orkney music scene, Lazy Boy Chair won a Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections 2007, after inciting unprecedented dancefloor mayhem with their triumphant Open Stage performance. Wielding fiddles, accordion, guitar, banjo, bass, drums and percussion, Lazy Boy Chair are a stomping feelgood outfit packing both style and substance.

Friday Night Blues
Josh White, Jr. & Spencer Bohren
Fri 18 January, 7:30pm
Central Hotel

US national treasure Josh White, Jr., the son of black music pioneer Josh White, continues to build on his father’s vast cultural and humanitarian legacy, and has played the blues for presidents, royalty and even the Pope.

Born into a gospel-singing family, veteran folk/blues troubadour Spencer Bohren came of age during the 1960s folk boom, and has since won fans worldwide with his richly seasoned, grittily atmospheric songs and virtuoso guitar work.

The Burnsong Song House with Roddy Woomble & Norman Blake
Fri 18 January, 7:30pm
Òran Mór

Featuring Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake, Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble, Jo Mango, Nuala Kennedy, Louise Quinn, L-Marie and Found’s Ziggy Campbell, this concert marks a second airing for the brand-new songs created during a week’s residential hot-housing in autumn 2007, and premiered at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall in December.

Burnsong is an ongoing Scotland-wide project to promote original songwriting, in the spirit of Robert Burns, and runs a similar Songhouse project each year. With participants this time coming from the worlds of pop, rock, electronica and traditional folk, expect a splendidly diverse but consistently high-quality set-list.

Bellowhead with Lisa Knapp
Fri 18 January, 7:30pm

Not widely noted as a place of inspiration, the M25 was nonetheless where the Bellowhead concept was born, when English folk firebrands John Spiers and Jon Boden, whiling away a traffic jam back in 2004, hatched the notion of expanding their duo into a big band.

Less than four years later, Bellowhead have carried all before them, picking up three Radio 2 Folk Awards en route, and earning a live reputation as the most dynamic and innovative outfit to hit the English scene in decades.

After coming to folk music via drum’n’bass and Jimi Hendrix, Tooting-born singer and fiddler Lisa Knapp has won a swathe of plaudits for her debut album Wild And Undaunted, blending timeless folk lyricism with arresting contemporary touches.

Dàimh & Anxo Lorenzo with TNT
Fri 18 January, 7:30pm
The Classic Grand

Aptly named with the Gaelic word for kinship, the Highland-based band Dàimh includes members from Canada, the US, Ireland and Scotland. Long renowned for their thrillingly tight, fiery instrumental work, Dàimh recently added Gaelic singer Calum Alex MacMillan to the line-up, with their third album Crossing Point revealing their equal facility for artfully sensitive ballad arrangements.

The pan-Celtic encounter also includes Galician piper Anxo Lorenzo, as renowned for his traditional scholarship as his fearlessly innovative musicianship, renewing Dàimh’s acquaintance after guesting on Crossing Point.

Opening the show with a flourish will be the ‘bagpipe boy-band’ TNT, aka The New Tradition, winners of a Danny Kyle Award in 2007.

Lewis & Harris Night
Fri 18 January, 8pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite

From the neighboring Gaelic strongholds of Lewis and Harris, in the Western Isles, a nine-strong, cross-generational gathering of vocal and instrumental talent host a Hebridean cèilidh to remember. Four of the featured singers – Margaret Stewart, Christine Primrose, Donnie Murdo MacLeod and Jenna Cumming – are past Mod medalists.

Also on the bill is the all-girl quartet Teine, uniting three voices with piano, fiddle, whistle, clarsach and percussion; teenage accordion prodigy Iain Angus MacLeod, and singer-songwriter Iain Morrison, of Crash My Model Car fame. Special guests will be joining this evening’s performance.

Classic Albums: Lauren MacColl "When Leaves Fall" with Maeve Mackinnon "Don’t Sing Lovesongs"
Fri 18 January, 8pm
St Andrew’s in the Square

An exciting Classic Album double-bill featuring two of Scotland’s brightest young talents in a celebration of fiddle music and song, offering a fresh contemporary take on the rich traditions from which they draw. Both highly acclaimed debut albums prove the performers to be rich beyond their years.

Singer Maeve Mackinnon’s album was said to be “one of the most absorbing albums to be released in Scotland in a long time” (Scotland on Sunday) and highly accomplished fiddler Lauren MacColl‘s “slow airs may well make you cry, her dance tune sets are invigorating” (The Herald).

Sponsored by Eskmills

Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile with The Bills
Fri 18 January, 9:30pm
Old Fruitmarket

Widely rated as the outstanding mandolin player of his generation and a former member of the dazzling nu-bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, 26-year-old Chris Thile is also a superb singer and composer. His award-winning 2006 release, How to Grow a Woman from the Ground, introduced his current band, comprising Chris Eldridge (guitar/vocals), Greg Garrison (bass), Noam Pikelny (banjo) and Gabe Witcher (fiddle/vocals), with the first Punch Brothers album due in February 2008.

With a sound described by the Herald as ‘the aural equivalent of multi-flavored sherbet fireworks seducing your taste buds’, and self-styled as ‘global acoustic roots music’, Canadian five-piece The Bills cook up influences drawn from their diverse backgrounds in folk, jazz, Americana, classical and world music. They’ll be previewing tracks from their upcoming fourth album, the successor to 2004’s acclaimed Let ’em Run.

Celtic Connections Festival Ceilidhs
Fri 18 January, 10pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Exhibition Hall

Get your dancing shoes on! Enjoy the perfect post-concert fling or pre-festival warm up, with The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience led by Sandy Brechin.

Celtic Connections Festival Club hosted by Gibb Todd
Fri 18 January, 10:30pm
Central Hotel

The late night club ensures there is even more music to enjoy after all the gigs are over. Join local and international artists as they make special unbilled appearances or join in one of many sessions happening in the bars.

With food and drink in plentiful supply you can happily keep going into the early hours of the morning whilst witnessing some of the best musical collaborations of the festival.

Master of ceremonies, Gibb Todd returns to present each act on stage and Doris Rougvie hosts The House of Song in a peaceful oasis away from the main stage.

The 15th Celtic Connections festival takes place over 19 days in January and February in 14 venues across Glasgow, Celtic Connections is the UK’s premier Celtic music festival, with over 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops.

Tickets can be booked:

In person Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
2 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow, G2 3NY
City Halls and Old Fruitmarket
Glasgow, G1 1NQ
By phone 0141 353 8000
Online www.celticconnections.com

For further information  check www.celticconnections.com.